PAYBACK: Snappers hold nerve to sink Pirates
THE Snappers women's side put the nightmare of last year's grand final to bed by claiming the 2020 crown.
Wary of a fast-finishing Port Macquarie Pirates outfit, the Coffs Harbour Snappers women's 10s side pushed it until final siren to claim the 2020 Mid North Coast Rugby Union premiership.
Despite a strong second-half fightback, the Snappers ran out 34 - 17 winners in Port Macquarie in a game captain Greta Smith described as being extremely physical.
The young captain said the side used the pain of last year's loss on the siren to stay focused, despite the eerily similar circumstances.
"It feels great to finally get what we deserve because we have worked really hard for it and we are just happy we got to bring home the trophy after the effort we put in," she said.
"Obviously we were quite nervous coming into it because last year it was basically the same situation - coming in as (undefeated) minor premiers.
"We couldn't let them get into our heads because that's what we did last year, so we just said to the girls we have to go out strong, play our game and go hard."
The Snappers were primed from the outset, heading into the halftime break well ahead after tries from Paris Lilo, Taylor Stephens, Brooklyn French and Lotti Dolan.
Their resolve was seriously tested in the opening stages of the second however, with Pirates wrestling their way back into the contest with three unanswered tries.
When they trailed by just seven points there would have been more than a few Pirates fans starting to believe a repeat of last year was on the cards however the Snappers held their nerve, hitting back with another two tries to put the game well beyond reach.
Ashlee Downton was awarded the player of the match award after a commanding performance Smith described as "awesome."
"Ashlee smashed it," Smith said.
"She made so many great tackles - try saving tackles - and didn't stop talking the whole game.
"(She was) cheering everyone on and getting everyone's heads into the game."
And what did Smith attribute the Snappers' two seasons of near-total dominance to?
"Hard work at training. All the girls were really showing up and putting in a lot of effort," Smith said.
"I am super proud of the girls and all the effort and commitment they have put in. It's amazing."